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Gabon’s Coup Leaders Appoint Prominent Opposition Figure as Interim Prime Minister

September 7, 2023

In the aftermath of the August 30 military takeover in Gabon, the coup leaders have made a significant move by naming a prominent opponent of deposed president Ali Bongo Ondimba as the interim prime minister. Raymond Ndong Sima, aged 68, who previously served as prime minister during Bongo’s presidency from 2012 to 2014, has been chosen for this crucial role. Notably, Ndong Sima transitioned from being a prime minister to a vocal critic of Bongo, even competing against him in the elections of 2016 and 2023.

A “Roadmap” for Return to Diplomatic Rule

On the same day, a mediator from a regional economic bloc, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), revealed that the military junta in Gabon is prepared to formulate a “roadmap” for the country’s return to diplomatic governance. ECCAS had previously suspended Gabon in response to the coup but dispatched Central African Republic President Faustin Archange Touadera to engage in talks with coup leader General Brice Oligui Nguema.

While the details of this blueprint remain undisclosed, it signifies a potential step towards resolving the crisis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Shift in Leadership and International Support

Under General Nguema’s leadership, the military assumed power by nullifying a recent presidential election shortly after Bongo’s victory announcement. Bongo had been in power since 2009, following his father Omar Bongo’s 42-year rule. In a surprising development, the junta announced on Wednesday that the deposed president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, is free to travel abroad for medical examinations, although his health status remains undisclosed.

International bodies have also extended their support during this transitional period. A United Nations representative, Abdou Abarry, met with General Nguema, offering assistance from UN institutions as Gabon works towards restoring constitutional order. Abarry emphasized the UN’s commitment to supporting Gabon as soon as the roadmap and government appointments are finalized.

Gabon Joins the List of African States Facing Coups

Gabon’s recent coup adds it to the list of several other West and Central African states that have experienced coups in recent years. However, it’s worth noting that each coup has elicited different responses from the international community. In contrast to Gabon, where support from international organizations and envoys has been evident, the recent coup in Niger saw a more confrontational stance towards Western states and a willingness to engage with Russia.

Credit: dw.com

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